Kisa Whipkey is a freelance editor, a dark fantasy author, a martial arts demo team expert, and a complete sucker for Cadbury Mini-eggs. She's also the Acquisitions & Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. She developed a passion for storytelling at a young age and has pursued that love through animation, writing, video game design, and demo teams, until finally finding her home in editing. She believes in good storytelling, regardless of medium, and applauds anything featuring a snarky lead character, a complicated narrative structure, and brilliant/uncommon analogies. Currently, she lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest with her husband and plethora of electronics.
Her personal blog--featuring sarcastic commentary on all things storytelling--is located at www.kisawhipkey.com. Or connect with her via Twitter: @kisawhipkey. And, of course, to learn more about REUTS Publications, please visit www.reuts.com.
What kind of entries are you looking for in this contest?
For this contest, I'll be open to YA, NA, or A manuscripts in the following genres:
- Science Fiction
All sub-genres of the above are welcome. I have wide reading tastes, so this time, I'll be looking for something well-developed, with an intriguing new premise or concept, strong voice, and emotional resonance. Complicated narrative structures and high levels of sarcasm or snark are definite pluses that always catch my eye, but beautifully crafted language and strong, human characters work just as well.
What is your background in editing?
The short version of this is that I come from a background in film originally, with an emphasis on storyboard/visual narratives. Writing has always been very dear to me though, and over the years, I kept returning to it. Editing was a more recent development, as I found that my "director's eye" for cinematography and Storyboard Artist's ability to see the narrative structure put me in a unique position to assist authors. Like all editors, I'm a fan of grammar, and the beauty and power of language, but I think my true strength lies in being able to diagnose and fix problems of the developmental sort. Those are the puzzles I enjoy most, and I thrive under their challenge.
Currently, I serve as the Acquisitions & Editorial Director for a fantastic small press, as well as offering freelance services under my own company, Nightwolf A.D.E. Collectively, I have helped debut authors and established self-published authors alike, and have gained insight into the various avenues of publishing, which, in turn, I use to help my clients make their manuscripts the best they can possibly be.
What can writers expect from working with you during the contest?
I believe that every story has merit, and that every story can be saved with enough elbow grease and willingness to work. So I look for potential, not polish. I also believe that it's my job as an editor to help the author make their book the best it can be. It's my job to guide them, to listen and offer compassionate, specific solutions that help them achieve their goals for the piece. My goal when I approach any project is to provide as much, or as little input as the author wishes, and above all, to preserve the integrity of both their story and their voice by not imposing my own preferences on top of theirs.
What do you expect from writers during the contest revision process?
I expect the authors I work with to dedicate the time required to revise their manuscript as needed under the deadline provided by the contest. It's a significant amount of time, so this is first and foremost on my wishlist for an ideal candidate. Running a close second would be openness and willingness to both listen to, and implement, critiques. I can't help someone who already believes their work is as good as it’s going to get, and the point of this contest is to help take an author's manuscript from good, to fantastically ready for submission. And lastly, I guess I would hope for a professional, courteous working relationship.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
Honestly? Um, not much.
Writing and editing is what I do for fun. Other hobbies I used to enjoy that I no longer have a lot of time for include drawing (my fancy art degree has sort of been collecting dust these past several years), playing video games, watching TV (couch-potato for the win!), going to movies or concerts, and otherwise hanging out with my adoring husband who puts up with the fact that I'm never not working.
What three books would you save in a dystopian future where libraries are banned?
ALL OF THEM! How can you ask me that? Lol. In all seriousness though, I have no idea. The correct response would probably be something socially conscientious and/or brilliantly insightful. However, if I'm the only person who ever gets to enjoy them, and I was being selfish, I'd have to choose from among my all-time favorites. That's still far too many to choose from, but some of the top contenders would be Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Fire by Kristin Cashore, and The Untold Tale by J.M. Frey.